The new fiscal year 2020 budget for the federal Housing and Urban Development calls for spending just over $44 billion on building housing for the homeless and reducing lead in current public housing structures, among other initiatives.
As announced by the White House, the new budget proposes spending just under $2.6 billion for local housing programs, an increase of 9 percent, or $215 million, over last year’s budget.
A press release from HUD additionally notes that some $290 million will go to the department’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Health Homes program, a program designed to “protect families and their young children from potentially dangerous lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards.”
President Trump is specifically asking for Congressional approval to merge HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund with the Public Housing Operating Fund in an effort to streamline the process of repairing the nation’s public housing stock.
According to the HUD statement, combining those funds will give “extra flexibilities to pay for capital improvement needs.”
While the new proposed HUD budget represents a 7 percent overall increase over fiscal year 2019, says Housingwire.com, “it is down a whole $8.6 billion, or 16.4 percent, from 2019’s enacted budget.”
Diane Yentel, the chief executive officer of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said that decreases in specific HUD initiatives making up the President’s proposal, “could leave even more low-income people without stable homes, undermining family stability, increasing evictions, and, in worst cases, leading to more homelessness.”
One of the most controversial aspects of the new budget will require anyone receiving federal rental assistance, with the exception of the disabled and elderly, to work up to 20 hours a week or attend workforce training or other educational classes.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson said the proposed budget is designed to place an emphasis on helping families access financial and educational programs, while also securing higher paying jobs.
Continued Carson: “We must think beyond investing in bricks and mortar, and think about investing in people.”
By Garry Boulard
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